Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mulligan Road/Telegraph Road public hearing

Detailed road profiles of Mulligan and Telegraph Roads were available for review at the VDOT public hearing held last night. Mulligan Road is the replacement for Woodlawn Road between Route 1 and Telegraph Road. The subject of the hearing was the southerly section of Mulligan Road now known as Old Mill Road, between Pole Road and Route 1 and Telegraph Road between Beulah St and Broadmoor St.

Bike lanes are planned for Telegraph Road. There will be two 12-foot travel lanes and 4-foot bike lanes in each direction, along with a multi-use trail on the north side. These bike lanes will connect to existing bike lanes on Beulah St and on Telegraph Road west of Beulah.

Mulligan Road will have an inside 11-foot travel lane, a 13-foot outside lane and 2-foot gutter plan and 5-foot sidewalk on the west side [See UPDATE below]. On the east side the outside lane will be 15 feet with curb and no gutter plan.

VDOT has developed plans that provide good bicycle accommodations on Telegraph Rd and the east side of Mulligan Rd that has the 15-foot wide curb lane. While we support the plan, we are concerned about the 13-foot wide curb lane planned for the west side of Mulligan Rd. This does not provide sufficient width for bicyclists and motorists to safely share the road. The 2-foot gutter pan will help provide some space, but the seam between the concrete gutter pan and the asphalt road can be a hazard.

When this was discussed during the Q&A, we were told that the west side will have 15-foot lanes plus the 2-foot gutter pan. However, the plans show 13-foot lanes. We submitted comments at the meeting supporting the project and asking that the 13-foot lane be widened to at least 14 feet. [See UPDATE below]

One person questioned the need for bike lanes and a multi-use trail on Telegraph Road stating that the existing bike lanes on Telegraph aren't used much. Jan Vaughn of VDOT explained that the facilities are for different types of cyclists, and that most cyclists fare best in bike lanes when they are part of traffic, with fewer conflicts with motorists. Another audience member said that he lived on Telegraph Road and sees many people using the bike lanes and he thinks it's a good design. It was also encouraging to hear a woman behind me say to a friend "shouldn't we be providing more facilities so that people can use their bikes to get around?"

The public comment period is open until June 9. Cyclists are encouraged to write to VDOT to support the project and to ask for a slightly wider outside lane on Mulligan Road or for a seamless edge between the gutter pan and the road surface. Send comments to with subject of Telegraph Road Widening Project.

[UPDATE May 28] We just learned that the drawings at the public hearing were incorrect; both outside lanes on Mulligan Road are 15 feet wide not including the gutter pan. See the revised Mulligan Road profile [PDF].

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